For an earlier experience with Safaricom Internet, check out the article Frustrations with Safaricom’s Internet.
Beginning this month Safaricom restructured her Internet offering in which she abandoned the useless night shift bundles and offered the most competitive pricing package in town. For example, instead of using Shs 1,000 to buy the standard 1.5 GB, you can now use the same amount to buy double the data. In the restructuring, Safaricom ensured that I can access my monthly data needs of 7.5 GB for only Shs 2,000. Then two things happened.
The first thing that Safaricom did after restructuring their data is to have one of their customer care reps call me, very early in the morning, to follow up on a complain about their poor network more than two months after I had made the complain. They wanted to know whether two months down the line I still had difficulties accessing their Internet and if there is anything they could do to rectify the situation. I told them that since they didn’t respond to my complain in time, I had to move on to another network and I actually did not care whether their network was up or out. Then the second thing happened. My wife told me about Mike.
Mike is the guy who supply to us the daily bread, literally. And he loves Internet. He lives about two kilometers from us and so he supposedly uses the same Safaricom network tower as us. About two days after Safaricom called me, he narrated to my wife how his Internet experience had jumped from headache to perfection. According to him, the average download speed he was having, as reported by his Safaricom modem, was 18 Mbps. With that testimony, I decided to give Safaricom Internet a try. I redeemed my bonga points worth 250 MBs of data. Before the end of the day, the data was out. The Internet was amazing. No lag, no downtime, no headache. Perfect. It was the devil.
Once upon a time someone tweeted, “If you suddenly see your Safaricom Internet speeds get extremely fast, know you have run out of bundles”. The reason you Internet speeds increase when you are using direct credit is because the band used to provide bundled Internet is not the same as that used to provide direct credit Internet. Since everyone is using the bundled Internet bandwidth, the direct credit Internet is bound to be free of users making it extremely fast when you unfortunately find yourself using it. I think the Internet band for accessing bonga points redeemed data bundles is also different – otherwise I can’t explain why my bonga points Internet ran out in hours without downtime, not even a slight lag, night and day.
Immediately my bonga points Internet ran out, I bought the 7.5 GB Internet that should allow me to browse, download and watch at least 30 minutes worth of YouTube videos every day for 30 days. That means I use about 250 MBs daily and since today is the fifth day after I bought the 7.5 GB data, I should have used a minimum of 1250 MBs and as such my data balance should be 6250 MBs. That’s not the case. As at now, my data balance is 7,186.08 MBs meaning, for the last five days, my daily Internet usage on Safaricom has been 62.78 MBs, and that’s only 25% my optimal Internet usage.
The reason I haven’t been able to use Safaricom Internet as my daily usage rate requirement is that the purchased Safaricom Internet is hardly available. In more than 90% of the time, Safaricom Internet is down, and this forces me to revert to the unlimited but speed limited Airtel Unliminet Internet; but that comes with the setback of waiting for longer to download documents, open heavy web pages and having to preload YouTube videos before watching. Also, after reverting to Airtel Unliminet, I hardly remember to go back to Safaricom Internet.
How is Safaricom Internet Availability at your place?
The particular Safaricom Internet experience I have outlined above is not universal. This is an experience for those who live at places with poor Safaricom network coverage typical at Racecourse/Racetrack Nakuru. There are those who live in areas with great network coverage and with less congestion, and those people can normally access quality Internet at least 50% of the time. But again, most Safaricom Internet users that I interact with, even those like Mike who praise the high speed connection, always lament that Safaricom Internet is hardly available between 7 pm and midnight every day.
Then there is something peculiar with Safaricom Internet, even when the speeds are great. After using the Internet continuously for two or so hours, the Internet goes out. When you contact Safaricom customer care, they will normally reset your number or ask you to restart your modem or phone. Most of the time when I restart the phone, the Internet problems get resolved. This is something I haven’t experienced with Airtel Internet at all even after using Airtel Internet for three months. If Airtel Internet disconnects, it is because there is no Internet right from the cellular tower, and not because there is an issue in the communication between the tower and the cell phone or modem. The only time I restart my phone to reconnect to Airtel Internet is when I have traveled to a distant town – but even if I forget to restart the phone, the Internet reconnection will eventually happen.
It has taken me about 65 minutes to write this article, and within that time, I had to restart my Safaricom cell phone three times to remain online. That means, Safaricom Internet disconnects at least every 20 minutes. Together with the article Safaricom Internet Bundles vs Airtel Unliminet, it is easy to conclude that Safaricom Internet is far from what you would want to opt for.